12 February 2006

The crows know

Iceland is full of crows. I watch them swooping at each other from my work window all day, perching on the railings of the 8th floor balcony, and sailing on the wind gusts that whip them in arcs above the roof. They sit on lampposts along the highway, and their black shapes coast past our window in the mornings, their wingtips almost grazing the window. They never seem to be bothered by the weather either- when all the smaller sea birds are huddled somewhere, the crows are still out on the railings, coasting in the gusts and wheeling on the wind. They fit well with the landscape here, with their craggy black shapes and mysterious air. Crows have stories to tell, just like the cairns that march across the lava fields here.

They've been here long enough that their stories are part of the mythology too- Odin is said to have two ravens named Thought and Memory that brought him the news of the world every day. Perhaps they are still at the job, and that's why there always seems to be a watchful crow perched somewhere in sight, wherever I go.

Ship sighting: The only action I saw today was the sand-dredger Sóley back in the harbor mouth with the lower part of the hull painted a spiffy cranberry color. J and I did stop by the Viking ship sculpture on the water, something that most tourists visit when they are here. In typical "I live here" fashion, I have only been past it once on foot, although we drive by it every day on the way to work. We had some time to kill before a birthday party so we caught the last rays of sunset-light and the nearly full moon at the sculpture, and since it IS a ship of sorts, I figure I can rightfully mention that photos are here and here.

5 comments:

sb said...

Do you know if there is a difference with crows and ravens? I don't, but I always thought the crows in Holland looked funny, hopping around, and the ravens in Iceland looked so huge.
I have no clue :D

Anonymous said...

Well, the crows and ravens are two different species, there are no crows in Iceland, just ravens.

The Prima said...

your "summer harbor" photo is money!

tsduff said...

I love crows & ravens, and hence loved your post. Check out a post here about them.

Crows
http://tsduff.blogspot.com/2005/12/corvid-whimsey.html

Ravens
http://www.arthurgrosset.com/europebirds/raven.html

Hooded crow in Sweden
http://www.arthurgrosset.com/europebirds/hoodedcrow.html

ECS said...

Sirrý-- the most notable difference between crows and ravens is the size. Ravens are significantly larger, and as anon poster said, the birds here are indeed ravens. Must Research better next time! I had read something quickly that said they were basically in the same family but it appears that they are quite different. However you cut it though, I love watching them fly from my office window. It's a talented bird that can manage to fly (and apparently enjoy) the winds here.